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21 Ways to Stop Being Manipulated & Used By Someone You Love & Trust

If you feel like someone is using shady manipulative tactics on you, then you need to know how to stop being manipulated. Here’s how you can do it.

how to stop being manipulated in a relationship

Manipulation is a behavior in which one person tries to change the mind of another person without confronting them directly. So, you need to learn how to stop being manipulated.

Manipulators use deception, trickery, and threats to get what they want, from people who are willing to give in to them.

Now all of us don’t fall for the tricks of a manipulator all the time. But there are instances when all of us can fall prey to manipulation, especially when we’re being used by someone we love and really care about.

The easiest way to see it is by understanding the way you feel around a person.

When you feel powerless in the presence of someone, there’s a good chance that you’re being manipulated by them, whether you realize it or not!

[Read: 27 signs of manipulation to know if you’re being used by someone]

Manipulation in a relationship and how it starts

The first thing you need to understand is that people get manipulated, not because they’re weak, but because they truly believe they stand to lose something by not giving in to this person.

And it’s most common in romantic relationships where one partner always gives in to the other partner just to please them *or to avoid offending them*.

Are you in a relationship with a partner who is manipulative? It’s not easy to recognize the signs of a manipulative lover or learn how to stop being manipulated, but it always starts with requests that soon turn into veiled threats, which eventually turn into outright abuse over time. [Read: 20 signs to recognize a selfish person and steps to stop them from hurting you]

Why are manipulative lovers so manipulative?

In most cases, a person’s manipulative behavior is acquired from the people around them, usually their parents or other people that they’ve grown up with during their formative years.

If you were growing up and see that your mother avoided confrontations with your father, but always got what she wanted by subtly tricking him with manipulation and deceit, you may start to believe that manipulation is a much better way to deal with a problem and avoid confrontation at the same time.

When you grow into an adult after being exposed to this kind of manipulative behavior as a youngster, you may start using manipulation to get what you want, especially if you believe you don’t stand a chance of getting it with outright aggression or confrontation.

And that’s how a manipulative person’s mind works.

They avoid direct confrontations, and instead of going against someone to their face, they use subtlety and trickery to convince someone into doing something for them, without ever opposing them to their face.

Each time their manipulation works, they’re more convinced that manipulation and deceit is a much better option than outright confrontation. [Read: 20 signs you’re a people pleaser who may turn into a manipulative person very soon]

Why are you the unlucky one to end up with a manipulative lover?

People with manipulative tendencies are drawn to people who lack assertiveness. If you can’t say ‘no’ or have a hard time stopping yourself from doing favors for someone even if you don’t want to do it, in all probability, you’d be drawing manipulators like moths to a warm flame.

If you lack assertiveness in your personality, you’d have the tendency to bring out the manipulative side in any of your lovers or the people you date. Initially, your partner may use flattery or plead with you to get things done their way.

But as they get more and more confident, they may use blatant aggression to frighten you into submission! [Read: 21 signs of emotional abuse your partner may be using on you right now!]

The things manipulators do to manipulate and use you

Before you learn how to stop being manipulated by someone you love, you need to understand how manipulators work.

Manipulators use different ways to make you feel insecure and guilty and make you give in to their demands.

They may withhold information from you to make you seem unimportant, they may blatantly lie to you because they know you don’t have the courage to question them back, they may play the victim’s card by talking about how sad and pitiful their life or workplace is. [Read: Gaslighting – What it is, how it works and 22 signs to recognize it instantly]

Or they may force you to take sides by bitching about someone you trust or picking flaws in them, and eventually convincing you that they’re the only person you can trust in this cruel world.

The tricks manipulators use could be many. But it’s all done to bring just one effect. They want to break your morale, make you completely dependent on them, and convince you that you need them more than they need you.

And this combination is the perfect recipe for a manipulator to turn you into soft putty each time they want to use you or abuse you! [Read: 16 abusive relationship signs of a devious lover]

How to stop being manipulated in a relationship

It’s very easy to know how to stop being manipulated in a relationship. But it’s extremely hard to bring yourself to make the change.

It all starts with acceptance. You need to realize that you’re a victim, and you need to realize that you need to change forever because you don’t stand to gain anything by being used by everyone around you.

Each time you accept to do something when your mind silently screams ‘no,’ you’re giving another person an opportunity to use you and manipulate you. And over the years, you’d only lose your self-esteem and feel smaller and weaker each time you find yourself getting used and manipulated. [Read: 15 types of toxic relationships to stay away from!]

21 ways to stop getting manipulated in a relationship

If you truly want to stop being manipulated in your relationship, you need to learn to take a stand and believe you’re worthy of your partner. Use these 14 ways to change for the better and stop getting manipulated by your lover.

1. You’re the victim

Realize that you are a victim. Use the frustrations, the anger, and the resentment you feel each time you feel manipulated and try to convince yourself to act on your partner’s behavior. 

Tell yourself that you deserve a better life that’s full of happiness and not deceit and trickery. Believe in the strength you have, and realize that you do have the power to say ‘no’ if you choose to. [Read: 16 ways to deal with your partner’s controlling and manipulative behavior]

2. Communicate with your partner

Talk to your partner and explain how you feel each time you feel manipulated in the relationship. Remember, sometimes your partner may not realize that they’re manipulating you to get what they want.

Confronting them will give you the courage to decline them *because you’ve explained your need to decline their requests when you feel manipulated*.

3. Recognize their emotional blackmails

Keep an eye on the way your partner tries to manipulate you. Do they try bullying you, intimidating you, or do they say something that makes you feel weak and want to give in?

Try to pinpoint the signs that make you feel vulnerable and used in the relationship.

4. Take a stand

You may not be ready to say ‘no’ just yet. But you could at least take a stand when you don’t feel like doing something, right? If your partner asks you for something you don’t wish to do, explain yourself calmly and tell them why you don’t wish to do it. 

You don’t have to say no right away. But you can try to explain why you don’t want to do something for them. Start with this, and your strength will grow.

You may feel really awkward the first few times, but your confidence will grow and you’ll regain your strength each time you say ‘no.’ [Read: How your self-respect affects the way you see your relationship]

5. Principles in life

Sit down by yourself and ask yourself what you’re willing to accept and where you want to draw the line.

By setting boundaries and having clear principles in life and knowing when to stop doing favors for someone, it’ll help you recreate a whole new ‘you’ who’s more confident and clear about what’s right and what’s wrong. [Read: How to set personal boundaries and guide others to respect it]

6. Learn to be assertive

Learn to say ‘no’ if you want to stop being manipulated. Read self-help books that can motivate you and help you take a stand.

Remind yourself that you’re an adult and no one has the right to manipulate you or bully you into doing something you don’t want to do.

7. Get your independence

Most lovers who get bullied in a relationship allow it to happen only because they believe they are dependent on their partner. So learn to be independent in all ways *social, emotional, and financial* so you can have the strength to stand on your own feet again and reclaim your life. [Read: 14 spirited steps to be independent in a relationship and learn to love better!]

8. Respect and love yourself

If you don’t love yourself and believe you’re awesome, there’s no way you can ever stand up for yourself. You need to realize that you’re not a pushover.

Stop giving people the opportunity to use you by being firm and following your principles. [Read: 34 life changing steps to fall in love with yourself all over again]

9. Don’t give up

It’s very hard to make such a big change in your life, but it’s not impossible. Don’t give up and don’t stop hoping for a better life. You’re the only person who can stop you from a better life. So even if you fail and fall prey to emotional manipulation now and then, don’t give up. Just try harder the next time around.

10. Build a support system

If you’re being manipulated by your lover, build a small support system with your family or your close friends.

Meet them often, stay busy in your own life, and when you have a hard time confronting the manipulation, use the help of your support system.

11. Get stronger

Each time you find the strength to say ‘no’ to someone, be it a salesperson, a coworker, or even your partner, take a moment to experience the high and control over your life you feel right then. And use this strength to feel stronger, more in control of your own life, and learn how to stop being manipulated by someone.

12. Don’t let it get to you

Don’t let your partner’s bitter remarks, their expectations, and the mean things they say get to you. Doubting yourself is the easiest way to lose control of your own life. Turn a deaf ear to anything that you perceive as negativity, and just believe in yourself.

13. Don’t fall prey

Don’t fall prey to their pleas, false excuses, or lavish gifts. When a manipulator feels like you’re slipping out of control, they may try really hard to please you or win your affection back, just before they ask you for something. 

But this is when you need to avoid falling into their trap. As convincing as they may seem, be strong and don’t give in to their demands, even if you feel obligated because they’re being so nice to you. [Read: Love bombing and 21 signs someone is manipulating you to fall harder in love]

14. Don’t let them beat around the bush

Most manipulators never get straight to the point. They always talk about all the things they’ve done for you, or they promise you something special, and just when you seem really happy, they try to get something out of you.

Remember, they want to put you in an awkward spot so they can trick you into doing something. Don’t let that happen. If you sense a request coming, ask them to be direct and tell you what they want so you can stop being manipulated.

15. Ignore everything they say and do

When you are being manipulated by someone, a big mistake a lot of people make is trying to correct them. But if you do that, you walk right into their trap. [Read: How to ignore someone you don’t like without stressful drama]

Because they like to use frustration and confusion to bait you into a conflict with them, they are actually trying to get you emotional. They want to observe your behaviors and reactions so they can see how you operate. In other words, they are trying to find your triggers.

Once they know what triggers you, then they will use these things against you. The reason they do this is so they can influence your behavior. So, instead of correcting or confronting them, just ignore them completely.

16. Turn the tables on them

Since manipulative people are using their own strategies against you, try turning the tables on them. For example, if they hold what you’ve done in the past against you, do the same to them.

Or, if they dangle a reward in front of you so you chase it, then do it to them. You can also make allies with people who are close to them and work together if you can. [Read: How to play a player – 26 sneaky ways to return a favor like a boss]

In other words, beat them at their own game. This throws them off and forces them to “look in the mirror” and get a taste of their own medicine.

17. Trust your judgment

If you really want to stop being manipulated in a relationship, then trust your own judgment. You know yourself better than anyone else – at least you should. So, don’t go around asking other people for their opinions about everything.

You know that you are being manipulated, so you don’t need to ask anyone else for confirmation. Trust your gut!

And if your gut instinct knows that you are being manipulated, use your beliefs as your boundaries. Hold them hard and fast so you can prevent the manipulative person from affecting your life.

18. Stop compromising

Guilt is a very bad emotion, but it’s a very powerful tool to manipulate another person. It’s one of the main weapons that they use against you. They make you feel guilty for mistakes and failures. And they’ll even make you feel guilty for being happy or self-confident. [Read: Don’t be run over – how to stand up for yourself in a relationship]

The reason for this is that they don’t want you to feel good about yourself. They want you to doubt yourself, your abilities, and your worth. They’re trying to gain power over you by creating a feeling of uncertainty.

When are feeling uncertain, then they have a better chance of getting you to compromise your values, goals, and self-esteem. So, stop compromising. You don’t owe anyone anything. Stand strong.

19. Don’t ask for permission

As the saying goes, “it’s easier to ask for forgiveness than permission.” But we’ve been conditioned in life to ask for permission. Wait in line. It’s not your turn to talk, so be patient.

Most people are so used to waiting for permission that they are afraid to do anything without someone else’s say-so. Stop being polite and caring too much about the manipulative person. They don’t care about asking your permission, so why should you care about theirs? 

20. Take personal responsibility

If someone manipulates you once, shame on them. But if it happens again, then shame on you. 

Stop blaming them for everything, and stop letting them walk all over you. You aren’t a punching bag. 

You need to have enough self-respect to say no when you recognize they are manipulating you. Yes, these people exist. And yes, what they are doing is wrong. But that doesn’t mean that you get a free pass to be used.

Remember this… no one can manipulate you without your permission. You’re responsible for your own successes and failures. Be accountable and learn from your mistakes. [Read: Manipulative people – how to spot them and stop playing the victim]

You’re responsible for your own successes and failures. If others outthink or out-strategize you—it’s your fault, not theirs.

21. Walk away

Living with a manipulative partner is like walking on a minefield. You can’t relax, you can’t just love them for who they are, and you’ll always have to be on guard. And that’s not really the recipe of a happy relationship, is it? If you can’t feel carefree and happy in your lover’s arms, is it worth staying in the relationship?

If your partner doesn’t try to change even after you’ve given them enough chances, walk away for good. Chances are, their manipulative behavior is too deeply ingrained in their mind to ever change. 

And you’re better off leaving the relationship, than letting this person break your spine and your morale, which would only lead to you getting used and manipulated by everyone else in your life.

[Read: 23 subtle but shocking signs of a controlling boyfriend most girls don’t notice]

Use these steps on how to stop being manipulated in a relationship to change your partner and reclaim your life. After all, how can you ever be happy if you don’t even have control over your own life?

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Alison Ricard
Alison Ricard loves sunshine, good books and contagious laughter. And when she isn’t writing, you’ll find her sitting in a café, people watching and commun...
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